Jessica Moreno: “The Rest of Me”
The Rest of Me
by Jessica Moreno
Words don’t feel like enough.
The colors I need do not exist in black and white
and cannot be found in the difference
between cursive and plain text in a size 12 or 14 font.
I am nothing capable of being captured and condensed
by syllable after syllable of your poetic bullshit
meaning nothing but metaphors you tied together because they sound nice.
I don’t want to sound nice.
I don’t want to sound like anything that has been written before
about heart ache or politics or your best friend stabbing you in the back
because family members die and men in the dark can grab you
and the rain won’t stop.
It won’t stop and keeps beating down on skin that has learned to accept it.
You see she stood standing
until it beat into her skin
and reminded me that I am her.
She is still in me
and 15 was 10 years ago to the time it took to get to 25
and if I keep counting, I can survive.
I suck at math, and I can do the numbers when I sit down
and count it on fingers
but when it gets too big,
I can keep track if you tell me,
just tell me
how long I have to keep pushing because it’s been a mile
and a mile
and a mile
turned to 200 miles
turned to infinite
ocean by the beach.
A temporary place to stay and I don’t fit anywhere anymore.
Tell me how the sun sets and makes the waves crash down,
like sea foam redemption on a watercolor slate
whose embers are hues of pink and purple swallowing the only thing I know
which is feeling,
and these feelings cannot fit in the word limits I’m being given by the voice in my head because I do not want to sound nice.
I am tired of sounding nice and being broken.
Yet I cave.
I cave in and I carve in the numbers
to remind myself how far it’s been and how long it will be
and the numbers tell me I’ve survived.
140 pounds to 165 pounds to overweight and no more measuring of pounds,
then 1 slice
3 cut diagonal grid
that became my skin is no longer counted because I tell them all it healed.
60 seconds was not survivable
yet somehow that turned into the one second at a time day that just kept repeating:
sun up, sun down,
sun up, sun down,
until it became almost two years since I’ve been displaced
but I never want to go back,
Do you hear me? I SAID I NEVER WANT TO GO BACK.
I am starving to see the color changing foam of redemption
sweeping away the broken girl
who stopped keeping track.
I want to drown in black and white words that keep everything in order
but I cannot sound nice because my god I’m angry.
I’m angry for everything that I have lost this year
and all the faith that was so vibrant it burned a hole right through me
and never came back.
I am angry and I do not know how to sound nice
when the only thing I can do is count
and keep recounting
on the same 26 letters
until it makes the tips of my fingers burn.
This is my genuine attempt to prove to the voice in my head that I am alive
and sounding nice is not always the option you get when you confess to the world that you’re human.
I am human!
I do not know how to sound nice while I recount all the ways
and all the days
that I had to push to survive
in a world that lost the rest of its light
on this day,
a year ago
I was emptied
I will not sound nice when I say to you:
I am still here.
And I will keep recounting on burning fingers
until the pink and purple hues
start to spill out of these black and white letters.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
My name is Jessica Moreno and I’m a first-generation college student from Fresno, California. I currently have a degree in Communication from CSU Monterey Bay and am pursuing an MFA in Prose from Mills College in Oakland. Previously a DJ on CSUMB’s Otter Media, I am now an Editor and writer of Health and Wellness at Mill’s student run paper, The Campanil. I believe in recovery through writing and promote communication as a bridge to build community, my aim is to expose the hidden ghosts that shackle to trauma and weld them into treasures of resilience. Through talking about issues like depression, self-harm, alcoholism, abuse, and generational trauma I am a bringer of light and medium for change. Above all, I write to explore my own identity and to connect with others.
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